Balobino, the nice story of 5 siblings

In Sant'Urbano near Padua, the Quaglias run an inspired osteria. Maura, the youngest, shines between dining room and kitchen

19-12-2018

Open only five nights per week, and lost in the countryside of Padua, it’s not easy to find a table at Balobino, a wine bar and osteria run by the five Quaglia siblings in Sant’Urbano. It’s never open at lunchtime, and closed the entire day on Monday and Tuesday. It’s a delicious gem that I wish I had discovered a long time ago and not just in November 2018. Better late, than never, they say.

It’s a nice story, starting from the name. Balobino recalls a successful show in the late Nineties, on Radio Deejay. The curators kept on speaking of Balubino (with a u), a fictional restaurant that soon became a hit in the Quaglia family,so much so that when the five siblings decided to open a place of their own, they called it Balobino (with an o). It sounds great, it’s fun. Perfect.

There’s more. Pietro, their father, has always worked with flour and used to run a pizzeria, later run by others for three decades, in the same place where we now find Balobino. In 2011 the latest generation arrived, the farm once again belonged to the family and everything changed for the better. Then 300 metres away they opened a bakery and in the town of Lendinara, nearby, a place selling pizza, bread and cakes called Mama, open since 2016.

Here are their names: Sandro, 44, the eldest, then MassimoDavideSandra, the only one who has chosen a different path, and Maura, closer to 30 than 20 years old. The facets: Massimo runs the bakery, Davide the pizzeria, Sandro and Maura the osteria. Maura, from her initial vocation for the dining room, is gradually moving to the kitchen. Two rooms and lots of true atmosphere and a Vespa that once belonged to their father and is kept under the stairs while the Lambretta is in the cellar.

There’s lots of human warmth, which is much more important than the fire lit in the nice fireplace in the room above. Of the two rooms, this one is the more osteria-like, while the other has the wine bar and an extraordinary, moving selection of cheese, cured meat, and bread, a counter full of marvels which you can admire from the above room too, through a large window.

Surprisingly, I only tried the hot dishes: Boiled goose with horseradish and Renetta apple, Duck tortelli with a reduced broth aromatised with chestnuts, Roasted guinea fowl, Ricotta ice cream with caramelised figs, Sbrisolona and, finally, Roasted American sweet potato. Besides the cheese and cured meat, on which they focused from the start out of passion and the desire to stand out, guests come here for the goose, presented in all sorts of way. You can thus understand that like with pig, nothing is discarded. A tasting of boiled goose at the beginning is enough to understand this.

On the night of my visit, on the first Sunday of November, arriving there meant getting my fill of serenity. I would have liked for the night not to end and stay until morning. Perhaps another time.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

ENOTECA OSTERIA BALOBINO
via Chiesa, 14
Sant'Urbano (Padoua)
+39.334.2380950 e +39.0429.693613
Open only for dinner, from Wednesday to Sunday 
balobino@libero.it
Average prices: starters 9 euros; first courses 11; main courses 20 and desserts 6.
Cover charge: 2.50 euros


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Restaurants from all the world told in Il Giornale by Paolo Marchi from February 1994 to the winter of 2011. And since the spring, for the readers identitagolose.it